Refreshing profanation

Every parent is in great haste to have his child grow up and mature, to become serious, and often impatient with the carefree, playful world of childish impulse. Children have the remarkable talent for not taking the adult world with the kind of respect which we are so confident it ought to be given. They refuse to appreciate the gravity of our monumental concerns, while we forget that if we were to become more like the child our concerns might not be so monumental. There is a certain refreshing element of profanation in the child’s world of naïveté and mischief, which blows like a gentle breeze through the stuffy pomposity of adulthood. Often with a simple question or a completely honest remark, perhaps with a quizzical smile or a whimsical laugh, a child can call into doubt the sanctimonious façade and sacrosanct presuppositions of an entire civilization. (M. Conrad Hyers, “The Dialectic of the Sacred and the Comic,” in Cross Currents, Winter 1969)

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